Since my recent post of Mexican rice, arroz a la Mexicana, using long grain white rice (read about the traditional version and its history), several of you have sent me requests for a brown rice version.
I like many of you enjoy brown rice – both for its taste and nutritional benefits. So, I’ve just upped my game by making a Mexican brown rice version.
First though, I have to admit, I’ve attempted this in the past. But, I was less than satisfied with the results – generally involving tripling the simmer time, and the final product lacking texture and flavor. I looked for outside guidance but it fell short – generally, because brown rice is not too common to Mexican cookery.
Yesterday, however, because of your insistence, I finally created a recipe I am very pleased with and glad to share.
I’ve pulled out a few tricks: the rice is pre-soaked to soften the grain; saute the rice for about 10 minutes versus 5 for the white version; and, the rice is boiled for 5 minutes before simmering for 40 minutes (longer boil time and simmer time).
One more thing. I am very familiar with the process of Mexican rice in this pilaf style, so I generally know how to make adjustments such as removing/adding a little liquid; changing the pot to make a larger quantity and using less water for the same. However, if you’re new to it and depending on where you are – sea level or the top of the Rocky Mountains, you may have to adjust slightly.
Let the first attempt be just that. Print this recipe, follow it as is and gauge how it comes out for you. Make notes on how you should adjust next go around.
Mexican Brown Rice – Arroz a la Mexicana con Arroz Integral
This recipe is very similar to my traditional Mexican rice recipe using white rice.
– Make sure to use long grain brown rice
– Use a heavy-bottomed pot that is wider, than deep. (I used a 9 inch wide x 4 inch deep pot.)
– Make sure it also has a tight fitting lid.
– After the tomato and stock/water have been added and it comes to a boil – do not stir. Avoid lifting lid while it simmers.
– Use a fork to fluff rice; do NOT use a spoon (it can turn it to mush).
3 tablespoons oil (canola, vegetable or sunflower)
1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
1/4 onion, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 – 2 serrano chiles, left whole or cut in half lengthwise and de-seeded
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 carrots, diced medium
1 zucchini, diced large or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed (optional)
3 cups hot chicken stock, vegetable stock or water*
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce**
1 – 2 teaspoons salt
*If using chicken stock made from bouillon –adjust salt accordingly
- Soak brown rice in a bowl with hot water for 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander or sieve, removing as much water as possible. Set aside in colander.
- Prepare ingredients in advance – measure and chop onions and carrots.
- On medium-high heat, heat a medium-size pot, then add the oil. When oil is hot, add the drained rice; sauté and turn frequently so that the rice cooks evenly. When the rice is barely a golden color (after about 8 to 10 minutes of sautéing) add the onions; sauté for about 2 minutes. Then add the garlic, chiles, cumin, carrots and corn to the pot; sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring almost constantly to avoid burning garlic.
- Carefully and slowly add the hot stock/water to the rice – it may spatter. Immediately stir in the tomato sauce. Add the salt, starting with 1 teaspoon; taste the broth (it should be a tad salty – but it will adjust as it is absorbed).
- Bring rice with liquid to a boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes. Add diced zucchini if using. Cover with a tight lid and reduce heat to a low, allowing rice to simmer for 40 minutes. Avoid lifting the lid repeatedly. After 40 minutes, turn off heat and let rice sit covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve hot.
**Tomato: substitute tomato sauce with about 1/2 pound fresh tomatoes – skinned and pureed.
Vegetables: carrots, peas, corn, zucchini, green or red bell peppers.